The name "Discovery Series II" was carefully chosen to invoke the history of the original Land Rover Series vehicles. At first glance, the Series II looked very similar in appearance to its predecessors, but under the skin it included a variety of new features – some already fitted to other models in the Land Rover line-up, such as the Freelander's Hill Descent Control (HDC) and the Range Rover's air suspension at the rear – and some completely new options, such as Active Cornering Enhancement (ACE), which reduced cornering roll to insignificant proportions.
For the Series II the interior and exterior were re-worked to be less utilitarian, but it was still apparently very similar to the Discovery I. However, every body panel was in fact new, with the exception of the rear door outer skin. The rear body was also extended to improve load space.
Both on and under the skin, the New Discovery bodyshell underwent a major engineering and re-tooling programme to achieve the latest world-class standards. The structure beneath was also upgraded in the light of new design and manufacturing technologies. Use of ‘Design For Assembly’ (DFA) techniques led to reduced panel count and simplification compared with the previous design. This contributed to a stiffer body shell.
The New Discovery was available with a choice of just two engines: the all-new, high technology 2.5-litre 5-cylinder direct injection diesel, or the latest generation of the famous V8 petrol engine, which was 4-litre in capacity.
To the rear the packaging of the two third row seats was the subject of a major engineering project in its own right. The Discovery has always been essentially a vehicle for families but even though children mostly commandeer the rear seats, they were in fact designed and dynamically tested to meet full adult safety standards.
To the front of the cabin fascia changes included a new passenger airbag module, and a new steering wheel with driver’s airbag. Where appropriate the steering wheel had remote switches for the entertainment system and cruise control. Improved switchgear was of the same pattern introduced for Freelander, and there was a completely new instrument pack.
Automatic transmission, Seven seats, Digital climate control air conditioning, 16-inch alloy wheels, Cruise control, Front and rear sunroofs with sun-blinds, Electric folding door mirrors, Electric windows, Lumbar support, Front airbags, Roof rails, Full size spare wheel, Electronic Traction Control (ETC), Hill Decent Control (HDC), Self-Levelling Suspension (SLS), PAS, Remote central locking, Single electric towbar, Alarm, Spare keys.
The Epsom Green paint is quintessentially British and a marvellous colour for the Series II Discovery. The bodywork remains in superb rust-free order throughout, perfectly in line with the car’s low mileage of just 44k miles. On very close inspection there are some minor trim and bumper imperfections to report, but nothing unfitting for the age. The underside is also remarkably clean having resided on the salt-free roads of Japan up until 2017, when it arrived in the UK. The bull bars photographed have since been removed in favour of a cleaner appearance, and a towbar has also been fitted at the rear.
The airy cabin is equipped with seven full size seats, with the second and third rows folding completely for a vast load capacity. The seat centre panels are upholstered in grey Land Rover cloth and the bolsters are trimmed in leather. Given the low mileage there are few signs of wear to report. The dash, steering wheel, and switchgear all retain a clean finish and the unmarked carpets are still protected in the footwells by Land Rover overmats. The air conditioning was serviced in August 2018 and blows icy cold.
ENGINE & TRANSMISSION
The 4-litre V8 starts first turn of the key and idles up to temperature without fuss. The four-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly through each of the gears, handling the engine’s power perfectly whatever the driver setting. We have just had the car fully inspected and serviced at the current mileage. The head gasket has also been tested for the new keeper’s piece of mind, with no issues found.
WHEELS, TYRES & BRAKES
The 16-inch alloys present very well with only discreet curb marking to a couple worthy of note. The wheels are shod in a matching set of rugged Yokohama tyres and the brakes perform well on test, with plenty of life left following inspection.
Leaving the Solihull factory in early 2000 the Discovery was first registered in March that year. It was supplied new to Japan where it remained until mid-2017 before being imported into the UK by 4 Star. Having spent its life on salt-free roads the underside was found to be in excellent rust-free condition. It was then sold by us to the current owner.
The History File is complete with the Land Rover document pack containing all the original owner's manuals. The Discovery is accompanied by a really good maintenance history and has been serviced at the following mileages: 595, 6k, 8k, 13k, 18k, 20k, 22k, 23k, 24k, 26k, and most recently at the current mileage of 44k miles. We have also had the car fully inspected for the new keeper’s piece of mind, with additional checks done on the cylinder head gasket and cooling system, both without issue.